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Showing posts from 2007

Live The Dream

I don't make resolution at new year, but at my birthday. Last year, I wanted these, and thank God, two of my dreams came true.

I don't understand why some people don't have any goal in their life. It's quite absurd if one say, "Ah, I just go with the flow... let it flow like water." Ha, even water has it's own goal: to the sea.

I was that kind of person, when I was in my first and second year at Uni. I called it my dark ages. I just didn't know what I was doing and where I was heading. It's comfy not to think about the scary future and not taking any risks, but also I felt useless. The worst part, I became a burden to my parents, and anyone else.

Now, I am the kind of person who exactly know what I want, what I am going to do and what I'll say in my prayer. God is Mercifull. It's like we underestimate Him if we don't ask for His Blessing.

Oh, okey, here they are, Bismillah, my three wishes this year:
1. Publish two best-selling novels (I o…

Hurray For 28

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A perfect birthday morning:
1. a birthday kiss from him
2. a hot cuppa
3. homemade (w/ instant spices) nasi kuning
4. a perfect gift from my wish lists (sure I had to give him a clue, or I'll get another book, hehehe...)

A.K.


Big Announcement

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There's a rumour that Nindi will have her little sis/bro soon.
I just want to confirm that it's not a rumour.

I am now twelve weeks pregnant.

Actually, I couldn't wait to tell everybody about it, but it's not wise nor safe to announce before it reach second trimester. Even my doctor here believes in this superstition.

The due date is on June, 11th, and I will have her/him here.
Please pray for me, for a healthy and happy Mom and baby.

Thank you.

A.K.



Booklover Madness

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Our favorite annual Sydney Uni’s event is The Book Fair. Here we could purchase a used book as cheap as $1, or even less. We prepared for this ‘important’ event, saved as much as possible to buy lot and lot of books. We also learnt from last year event that we must come in the first day for better choice.
We came early to avoid dissapointment. To our surprise, when we arrived there, fifteen minutes before the door opened, there was already a giant line, around 100 meter. All ready with their giant shopping bags, boxes, and even shopping trolley. This madness was just like when the final Harry Potter released.This bookfair was held in one of the room at Quadrangle (Sdyney Uni’s Main Building). As we entered, the room was already packed with people. It’s so hard to move, especially when with a stroller, and 5-year-old daughter. Fortunately, Nino was one of the volunteer in this event. He could choose the books he wanted to buy before the fair was officially opened. Since he’s already cho…

Jemunak

What's in your mind when you hear the word 'jemunak'?

Jemunak is a traditional food, a snack, made from steamed cassava and sticky rice, garnish with sprinkled coconut and palm sugar sauce. It's soft, melt and just delicious. Yum!

Suddenly, this world pops up in my mind.
I used to eat Jemunak to break my fasting in ramadan, when I was a child. You can't find Jemunak anywhere but in Muntilan, a small town where my mom grew up. In my village, Karaharjan, there was only one person to make jemunak: Mbah Mul. He is my late grandma's neighbour.

I really miss it that I googled it. To my surprise, I found two articles about it in local newspaper. Yup, it is about Mbah Mul and his jemunak. You can read it here and here. Now he is so old and nobody else can make jemunak. I'm afraid this yummy snack will extinct soon.

Argh, better call my mom to ask about Mbah Mul.

A.K.

A Festive Season

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I love spring for its warm air and the smell of wild flowers along the street. But mostly I love it because it's the festive season. We got several festivals here at Spring, mostly were local festivals, held by a city/council (such as Marrickville, where I live).This last two weeks I’ve already been in three festival: Haldon street festival at Lakemba, Malaysian Festival at Darling Harbour and Marrickville Festival. Lakemba is known as 'the moslem region'. Lakemba residents are a mixed of moslem from middle east such as Palestina and Lebanon, South Asia such as India, Pakistan and Bangladesh and also South East Asia moslem from Malaysia and Indonesia. No wonder it is easy to find halal food here. And women with hijab are common. Festival is actually a market, or you say 'pasar malam' in Indonesia, it just that it's held at day time, not at night. There are so many stall: from food stall, fashion stall, and organisation stall. It also has some stages for perform…

Bed Rest

I am a type of person who avoids to see a doctor. Not that I am afraid. I always wait until the pain became 'worth' to see  the doctor. I always say to myself that this is not bad, it will be better soon.
Nino is another type of person.

Yesterday I got a very bad headache when I woke up. Still I forced myself to work. My optimistic mind kept saying that it would get better soon I reached my store. Unfortunately, it wouldn't. I worked for eight hours in pain. I knew I should have told my manager that I was sick and I wanted to go home, but I just didn't.

I was suffered from a fever last night and my temperature reached 39 celcius degrees. Thank God I have Nino. He took me to the doctor that was only one block form our apartment. The doctor was a nice lady, a Kualalumpur born Chinese that migrated to Australia 35 years ago. She loved to chat and tell stories. We spent almost 20 minutes in the doctor's room.
Then we bought the medicine at the nearest chemist. It turned…

I got it!

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Yippie!!!
I got the book for AU$ 29.95 at Basement Bookstore near Central Station.
That's a bargain. I heard that in Indo it's more expensive.

Don't worry, I won't spoil the ending (as I 've just read Chapter 1).

A.K.
just wanna show off


A Week Leave

I take a (paid) leave this week. The employment system here is generous enough to give you a paid leave for a month every year, if you work fulltime. Whether you take it or not, you still get paid.

They call it holidays. Usually my fellow workers (most of them migrants) will fly to their countries for holidays. But (sadly) not for me. I take it because my husband would go to US for a conference. It's babysitting my daughter, not a 'real' holiday. Still I'm excited with this 'holiday'. I don't have to catch a train every morning, I don't have to be sandwiched with tall and big bules in that sardines-package train. My feet will free from 4 hours standing in the register. Oh, what a luxury.

"Don't you think you will need a part-time husband, a casual one, Marla?" one of my friend joked.
"Hahaha, no, no, no. I think I can manage that."
I will make myself busy with things that I couldn't do when I work fulltime, such as:
1. take a luxu…

Bunda Tabloid, March 2007

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This is an old story. Five months ago, my story was appeared at Bunda Tabloid (Jawa Pos Group). It's just that recently we bought a smart PSC machine, I couldn't resist to scan it, and post it here.

A.K.
ps: story written by Bianda, Bunda's reporter.

Durian and Other Wonderful Fruits

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Durian always be my favourite fruit, although I only eat it once a year, when it comes in season. Back then, my family and I will gather in the dining floor (not on the table), ate four durians at once. My Mom, Dad and my sista, Dila love it as well.

When I lived in Ngadiwinatan with Nino and Nindi, there were Durian sellers a stroll from our house. When it's the season, Jalan KH Ahmad Dahlan was full of Durian sellers. We could only eat them when my parents-in-law came to visit us in Jogja. Bapak was the best at choosing Durian (actually, he's the best at choosing any kind of fruits). We had to be extra careful cause some merchants were very tricky.

I'm very lucky that here in Sydney, I can still taste the beautiful flavour of Durian. I bought Durian yesterday from my store. It's only $3.59 a kilo. I chose the smallest one that only cost $7. At home, I asked Nindi wether she still remember Durian. She said, "What is that, Mommy? Is it a pineapple?"
Hehehe, I …

Around The World in Eighty Days

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Rating:★★★★Category:BooksGenre: Science Fiction & FantasyAuthor:Jules VerneRemember your grammar lesson in high school? My English teacher used to ask me to complete the sentence: If I were rich, I would...
And I always wrote: If I were rich, I would go around the world in eighty days.
That always made my teacher smiling.

I found this book in Junior Fiction shelf in the library. I don't know why the classify this book as Junior Fiction. Is it? But since I became interested in reading classic (the famous book that we've never read), I picked it up.

I did enjoy reading it, although it's not as rich of action as I saw at Jackie Chan movie. I couldn't help comparing this book with the movie because I saw the movie first. There were too many actions that were definitely not from the book.

Here are some notes from my reading:
1. In the movie, Phileas Fogg was a scientist. In the book, it's not clear what was he doing. He's just a mysterious man.
2. In the movie, he met…

Pride and Prejudice

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Rating:★★★Category:BooksGenre: Literature & FictionAuthor:Jane AustenWhat's a classic book?
The one that is so famous and you've never read it, that is.
It was because of the movie Becoming Jane that I started interested in Austen's books. I chose the 'easiest' book to read: Pride and Prejudice. Austen herself called this work as too light, yet bright and sparkling.
But, to be honest, I couldn't enjoy this book that much. It's a good story yes, but the old style English language used made me dizzy.
If only I had luxury time and comfortable place (rather than in the moving train), maybe I could finish this novel.
More about Jane Austen at www.austen.com or www.pemberly.com

Jinontrong

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I don't know where she got this word from, but my mom called a ferris wheel as Jinontrong. I wondered if it's a Javanese word.

I remembered when I was a little girl, my parents took me to a Pasar Malam Sekaten at Alun-alun (Palace square) Jogja. It happened every year until I was too big to be taken there (or was it my parents that was too old to go?). I remembered it was a very special day in a year, that my parents would buy us (me and my sister) something, whether they were clothes (cheap ones, hik hik), or a toy (an othok-othok boat) or a bag of Chiki. While my mom was very happy with her bag of Sasa or Sarimi and my father was satisfied taking a glance at the erotic dangdut dancer.

And we always rode the jinontrong. Cause it was only one-in-a year chance.

Years later I was not interested in that festival anymore. We didn't go there although we lived just a stroll away from the Jogja Palace. Beside, my dear boy-who-was-born-with-a-silverspoon-in-his-mouth aka Nino had n…

Paying A Ridiculously High Tax

I got my first salary this week. Yipeee! Yes, it is in dolar (double yipeee), and yes, it's my first salary ever. Well, I got money from writing book, but we call it a royalty. And I also got money from my previous business, and we call it a share.

Mine is not that big compare to other worker, cause it is just as the award rate (or UMR* in our country). What surprised me is the tax rate. They cut almost 29% of my salary for the tax. Now I am a very generous person 'to donate' this wealthy country from one-third of my money. That's just great! Here, a temporary resident (or what we call it expat) pays higher tax than a citizen or a permanent resident.

Argh, at least I know where the money goes. It goes to the comfy trains and buses. It goes to the parks (with the free barbecue stand) and playgrounds. It goes to the free education for my kid. It goes to the library with thousands books to read and hundreds DVDs to see.

As a good citizen (of our beloved country), I also pai…

Being a TKI

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I barely have time to look after my blog since I've gotten job here. I work fulltime, 38 hours a week.

I love my job. I'm sure it's a worthy experience for me. Being a TKI* is not that bad, especially the pay rate (always convert it into rupiah ).

A.K.

* tenaga kerja Indonesia




A Condolence is Not Enough

It was a crisp and peaceful morning when I made call to Jogja to say Happy Birthday to my lovely sista. I wished her a very happy birthday, and to make her happier, I've already wired a handsome amount of money to her account. I'm a good sister, aren't I?

An hour later, I saw from my friend's YM, there was a (nother) flight accident in Jogja. I opened Detik and Kompas to see the full story. My goodness, that's really a terrible accident. Not only that we we were enough to see so many disasters, but it also happened in Garuda, the best airplane we had.

I offered my deepest condolence to the victims and also to the survivors. I read from early news at Detik that Mr Hamengkubuwono offered his condolence. Later, Mr Howard also offered his condolence for there were several aussies in that plane. This accident has been top stories at aussies newspapers for five consecutive days.

Then I read somewhere that Mr Radjasa also offered his condolence.
Excuse me?
Didn't he rea…

The Undomestic Goddess

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Rating:★★★Category:BooksGenre: RomanceAuthor:Sophie KinsellaI always love Sophie Kinsela, especially her Shopaholic series. She can make a very solid but witty character.
In this book, Sophie wrote about Samanta Sweeting, a workaholic lawyer who works 25 hours a day, 8 days a week! She couldn't have time for herself, let alone doing a housekeeping.
But then when she's already given her soul to her company, she made one mistake that ruined her entire career (and her life). She ran into a country and hired as a housekeeper by mistake. She can't even operate the stove!
The stories goes when she met the gardener of the house and she learned to enjoy a weekend (even a housekeeper has holidays).
I can easily enjoy this book. This main character is similar with Becky the shopaholic. But I just hate the ending. Sophie twisted so many complicated scenes in the end.

A Letter from The Premier

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I was surprised receiving a letter from the premier of New South Wales. Especially with $50 cheque in it. It's supposed to be The Back-to-School Allowance for Nindipong. He said in the letter that the allowance was there to give our children the best possible start to the school year.

I don't mind (at all) receiving such a cheque, it's just that we are heading for NSW State Election this month, and this cheque is distributed now, not at the beginning fo the school year. Not to mention that the letter has a big picture of smiling premier as heading.

Well, I don't have the right to vote, anyway. Is this money politics? Or is it a generous programme from the government (that really care about their children's education)?
Whatever! As long as it can reimburse Nindi's school uniform.

A.K.




Irritating Question

"Hi, how are you?"

That's a standard question when aussie meets each other. When somebody asks you this, you are expected to answer: either Good or Fine (even if you are not in that mood). Sometimes, saying "good, thanks" plus a smile is easy when I'm really in a good mood. But sometime I just say "ehm" to asnwer that robotic question from the tired supermarket cashiers, or ignorant takeaway waiters. They don't expect your answer anyway.

In Indonesia, the most common question beside "apa kabar?" is "mau kemana?" (where are you going?). The western found this question very annoying. I read this fact in LonelyPlanet Indonesia book. Ugh, like they don't have those irritating ones.

More about irritating questions:
Basa-Basi by Niken8 Pertanyaan Selama Anda Hidup by HormonPertanyaan Wajib untuk TwentySomething by Dian InaA.K.

ps: annoying questions in this very moment:
1. have you got the job yet?
2. when will Didi get a little sis…

Happy Library Lovers Day

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Do you still celebrate Valentine Day?
That's so yesterday...




In this new era, we'd like you to join us celebrating February 14th as Library Lovers Day.

HAPPY LIBRARY LOVERS DAY
to the bookworms everywhere...
show your affection, visit the library!

A.K.
send me books, not flower nor chocolate


Five months and two weeks until Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows released

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I don't know when I fall into this madness, becoming a fanatic Harry Potter fan.

I read the first until the fourth books in bahasa Indonesia (bought with my pocket money), read the fifth and the sixth in English.

The hardest book to read was the fifth book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I couldn't translate my reading into my imagination.

I got the sixth book delivered to my address by someone, say a secret admirer (hadihaha!). Nino suspected this guy, but I didn't think so. Whatever, as long as I can read the book, as soon as possible.



Yesterday, I told Nino that the seventh aka the last book will be released on July 21th, this year. He's not as excited as I was. "We can wait for the discount, or until it become a second hand book, which is way much cheaper."
Siiiiing!!! Speechless...
"You don't have to be the first to read, do you?" he asked.
"I do, Darling. If I don't, why do you think I bring this conversation?" I sighed…

Honeymoon With My Brother

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Rating:★★★Category:BooksGenre: TravelAuthor:Franz WisnerWhere is the best place to soothe the pain of being dumped by your girlfriend of 10 years a week before the wedding? Franz would say a foamy Pacific shore at California is a wonderful pace to be dumped.

This is a memoir of Franz Wisner, whose his girlfriend canceled the wedding a week before the big day. But Franz, supported by family and friends went ahead for the wedding (party). It was a great wedding, except there was no bride.

Not lucky enough, Franz couldn't cancel his prepaid honeymoon. Then he asked Kurt, his brother to go ahead with the honeymoon, after canceling the flower petals on the bed and swapping champagne for beer.

This honeymoon changed their live, forever. They agreed to quit their job and extend the honeymoon for 4 more years, visiting 60 countries around the world.

This is a good memoir of traveling, but I would rather travel myself than just read the book.

Lamington

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Lamington is a traditional Aussie cake that they love so much. It is like a sponge cake, coated with chocolate (or lemon) icing and desiccated coconut. At first glance, I thought it was like wajik or jadah (our beloved traditional cake from sticky rice). But then I was wrong. Come on, Aussie would not bother with sticky rice.

This cake becomes a symbol of Aussie. At Australian Day, January 26th, which is also Nindipong's birthday, they decorated lamington with green and yellow icing. I don't know where the 'green and yellow' come from, as their national flag is blue and red (look at Nindi's tatto at her right hand). But they use green and yellow as their sport team uniform, as in cricket, soccer and football.

A.K.




That's what the parents want

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Nindi started school this Wednesday. She has got a new uniform, with a too big hat. Her first day at school was great, until I was late picking her up. Not that I AM late. It turned out that the other parents picked their children long before the school ended and worse, the teacher let the children went home first. That made me who came on time felt worse cause Nindi was the last child to be picked up.
When her father (aka Nino) asked her what was she doing at the first day at school, she said that she just played around.
"Didn't you learn something new today? like alphabets?" asked Nino.
"No, Daddy. I just played outside with my friends."
"So, what's the difference from your previous school, at childcare?" added Nino.
"The difference is," I said. "This one is free."
Just like what we expected. Good education, five days a week and cost no penny.
A.K.

Husbands

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Rating:★★★Category:BooksGenre: RomanceAuthor:Adele ParksIs one ever enough? This novel is about an english lady, Bella, who's married to Philip, a wealthy guy. And they live happily ever after? Not since Bella met her previous husband that she secretly married to. Worse, Stevie, her other husband is Bella's bestfriend's date. Bella's bigamist life become the centre of this story.
Parks had already published six novel, which were all bestseller. Her plot and story is similar as harlequim series, in more sophisticated way.
I was bored reading five first chapter in this book, but as soon as the tense getting high, I easily enjoyed this book.

Nindipong's Birthday

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My daughter, Nindipong, turned five yesterday. I've just realized that a daughter's birthday means a giving birth's anniversary for the mom. My mind went back to 5 years ago at PKU Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta when I struggled to deliver this baby. Paintful but sweet memory.
We arranged a birthday party at our apartment. We invited Nindi's friends around Marrickville area, which were all Indonesian. Nindi was very excited for her party. It made me worried that she would cry at the day because she's too excited. She did at her fourth birthday party a year ago. She cried aloud when all the attention went to her, when everybody sang a birthday song.
But I was wrong. She was happy and bright. She even performed to entertain the guests. She did some circuss on the sofa. Well done, Darling.
Happy Birthday to you, keep shining, keep becoming our qurrata a'yun.
A.K.

Party Hard

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Aussie love to party, especially in summer. They love to entertain friends and family with a barbie (BBQ).
I live near Mc Neilly park which has a barbie tool. All you have to do are bringing some marinated meat and inviting some friends. The council will pay for the gas (or is it electricity?). That's why we're also partying hard like most aussie.
We had party at lebaran day, somebody's birthday, new year, idul adha, and hijryah new year. And maybe we will arrange one at next chinese new year. Who cares about the occasion? Hehehe. 
Tomorrow, I will be the host for my daughter's birthday party. Just like me, Nindi loves to party. We have managed to buy party's property such as ballons, birthday banner, paper hats, plates and bowls, forks and spoon, plastic glass, birthday cake, poppers, and goodie bags. She even bought a tiara to match her pretty princess dress. Uhuy!
One things that I'm worried so much: can I cook proper meals for the guests?
A.K.

My Job as a Job Seeker

Nindi will start school next week. This means that I will have a luxurious free time, 6 hours a day, 5 days a week (ta di ha ha, looking forward to that).This summer holiday made me exhausted. Nino and I (mostly me) had to look after Nindi 7 days a week. The days are long and hot. Nindi refused to go to bed early because sunset is about 8.30 pm. “It’s not night yet, Mommy. Why I must go to bed?” Hiks. I can do something for myself without her interruption after 9.30 pm. But at that time, I’ve already been exhausted. I couldn’t do some writing anymore. The least I can do is watching DVD with Nino (thank God for that).Back to my ‘free time’. As I’ll have plenty of time to do something, I started to find a casual or part time job. I joined the biggest job search engine in Australia and also the one provided by the government. It turned out that being a job seeker is really tiring and frustrating. I had no idea how frustrating it was since I had no experience searching the jobs in Indones…

One dollar a week to reduce greenhouse gases

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Per capita, Australia is one of the worst greenhouse gas polluters in the industrialised world. The main cause for this is electricity consumption.
Yesterday, Energy Australia, electricity provider (like PLN in Indonesia) offered Nino to subcrice for PureEnergy. This means that our electricity will be supplied from the renewable sources, like solar, wind, water and biomass. In consequence, we must pay more to support the green energy program. This is as little as 4 dollar a month, but the officer said that not many people are willing to do that. Why pay more if you are not really concern with the environment? This is all about the ideology.
This green energy program is good, but I think the government can do better. They should have a goodwill to fund this program to make it in bigger scale. So, it will be available in cheaper price. It's way better than forcing people (mostly have no concern of environment) to pay more for their bill.
Well, at least we do something for the global wa…

'Please don't write about me again, Mommy!'

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My mom emailed me the file of my published-in-KOMPAS short story yesterday. Nindi was curious to see the page with cute illustration.
"What is that, Mommy?"
"This is mommy's short story, appeared in newspaper. Let me read it for you."
Then I read the story for her. I wrote this about 9 months ago (I forget the exact date as I don't have the original file). This story is about Nindi sucking her thumb. It is based in a true story but I modified some parts.
At first, Nindi enjoyed the story. But then when I finished reading, she puckered up her lip.
"Mommy, why do you write story about me? Everybody will know..." She was upset.
Oh, Dear. I tried to explain to her that it was just a story.
"Please don't write about me again, Mommy. Don't write that I like playing doctor. Mbak Nina will know that I don't like being the patient. I just like being the doctor. You promise?"
I said nothing but hug her.
A.K.
in the picture: Nindi when she was t…

my.shortstory.is.published.in.KOMPAS.today.

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tra la la....
A.K.

A New Year, A New Address

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What's the best way to celebrate new year?
A new haircut will cost me an arm and a leg. Hehehe, just kidding, but, really, $30 for a haircut is out of question.
A firework? Good idea. If we didn't have to spent the entire day waiting with bunch of stupid drunken guys. But we did it anyway. We went to Mrs Macquarie's chair to see the biggest and the most beautiful firework on earth ever (as they said in the paper). The firework itself was spectacular, although I didn't see it from the best spot -which was already taken by them who waiting from 10 am.
At 9 pm, they launched the family firework from several point in the sydney harbour. Amazing enough for the warm up. They hoped family with little children were satisfied enough with this 'little' firework, and went home. But we didn't. We waited for another 3 hours among the drunken, party goers and noisy Aussie. Not a wise parent, huh?
My friend said, "Mumpung gak ketahuan kakek neneknya." Hahaha.
I con…